My girlfriend, Summer, and I work hard and when it is time to take a vacation we both like to really take a vacation. For this last time off we put our sights on a cruise to the eastern Caribbean: lots to see, a little pampering, food, shopping, new shows on the cruise ships, and much much more. We probably should have done a bit more research on the ship we were getting on, but, the sights were wonderful, the people were friendly, the ocean magnificent, and shopping was to be found everywhere.
Leaving San Diego we boarded our jet and headed to Fort Lauderdale where we stayed our first night. While there we walked on the beach and enjoyed a small time soaking in the Florida heat. Then, we boarded a taxi which took us both into Miami where we bribed the taxi driver with his own coffee to take us into Little Cuba to get some real cuban coffee. After that he dropped us off at the pier in front of the cruise ship Glory.
The cruise started out bad with a problem with our stateroom door. After getting in the first time to drop off our carry-ons our door malfunctioned. We couldn't get back in for almost 4 or 5 hours(almost the late dining time.) We talked to housekeeping almost immediately they said that security would be down right away to help us. We waited by our cabin for about an hour until we decided to go up to the deck and watch as we left Miami.
Then, once Miami was at our aft, we went back to the stateroom still unable to get back in. We talked again to housekeeping they could not tell us what the delay was. We waited by our door for another half hour watching as others accessed their cabins and were delivered their luggage. That is when we noticed that our luggage had not been delivered yet.
We wanted to get into our cabin and also shower and change into our dinner attire. We could not do either. We had neither. We watched as others luggage came and went and while looking for the source we found our luggage with the room tags that came with the boarding passes still attached were laying on a cart by the elevators. Almost, as if, they had been added to the lost and found. We claimed them and we put them by our door since nobody else would move them and we could still not access our cabin.
I decided to talk to guest services. This had gone past annoying. Once at guest services, calls were placed to both maintenance and security to find out what the delay was. Apparently, the two could not get coordinated enough to be at the cabin door at the same time to figure out what the problem might be. It turned out to be the batteries in the keycard reader.A simple solution right? Wrong, it took them another hour to fix the door. They said it may have been a mechanism within the door handle itself. Still, another hour to fix the door once we have access to the room? This fix should not have taken that long.
Anyways, once the door got fixed we had barely enough time to get showered and dressed for our first night of dining on the ship--which was good. Our waiter was friendly and team leader was very pleasant. The entire staff was eager to help and they made the dining experience extremely enjoyable.
However, on that first night we noticed that our ship started to close down right after dinner. There was a comedy show or two and a midnight snack bar with the usual pizza bar but the entertainment went dead after that. We also noticed that all of the pools were fenced off closed even the adult area pools and Jacuzzi were closed down. The only thing that was open was the casino; as if we were all being funneled into an area for some clandestined purpose, were they only after our money? hmmm.....
We retired into our stateroom and tried to enjoy our first night aboard our cruise. Woke with breakfast in bed (which became a routine) in the Bahamas. Our excursion, with the exception of a little rain, went without a hitch: a catamaran ride with snorkeling along a beautiful reef teeming with life. Then, we returned to our cruise for some more dining and entertainment.
One might think that the first night would set the trend or pace for the rest of the cruise and you would be right. Once on board, again, we noticed that services were starting to shut down. The food was starting to be shutting down in preparation for dinner. I understand that we have 24 hour room service but it would be nice to be able to get something other than a burger or a piece of pizza as a snack before dinner once back aboard the ship.
During dinner our serving team Jose, Reynaldo, and Ninson were as per the rest of the trip were friendly, courteous, and efficient. For the job they had to perform, serving that amount of people in that amount of time, they were nothing short of extraordinary. But then, once again after the comedy shows we noticed that the ship was shutting down...early. It was only midnight and we could not Jacuzzi swim or anything else. There was only two places to go to either get food or go to the casino. So, we retired into the stateroom.
As we were settling in for the night we noticed a small commotion in the hallway out side of the cabin. Children from different families had started to gather and become friends. They proceeded to run a game of tag which spanned the length and height of the ship. They were heard all over the ship running the halls and yelling at each other. In this case, one could place the blame of the ruckus they caused on either the lack of entertainment for the children to participate in after hours or the lack of good parenting--your choice.
We awoke the next day with breakfast in bed, which by the way, is a wonderful way of starting out your day on any vacation. Since this was our first sea day, I had arranged for Summer to go to the spa and get a massage package while I worked off some of my fat reserves in the gym on the forward deck right next to the spa, afterwards, soaking in the sauna to sweat out a few more ounces. My experience was very relaxing nothing short of wonderful.
On the other hand, my girlfriend did not have such an experience. She was rushed, nervous, asked about her recent surgery/ breast augmentation numerous times by the massuse of which she has had none done whatsoever--just rude. At one point, after the massage was over, she had gone to the sauna to relax when the massuse came in and pulled her out to sell her some product and to settle her bill. First of all, the bill should have already have been added to the account for the room. Secondly, I had arranged for my girlfriend to not have signing privileges on our account which the massuse bypassed by calling guest services . A way of us making sure all purchases were agreed upon by both parties. This massuse ended up manipulating my girlfriend who was attempting to relax into buying another $120.00 worth of product, of which she did not want in the first place. Had she wanted the product this would not have been an issue.
After a hour or so talking with guest services and getting the product returned and monies returned to my account we relaxed in the stateroom and decided to go up to the top deck to enjoy some Jacuzzi time before they closed. The jacuzzi was nice and relaxing something that would be really nice under the night sky. Once well pruned and ready for seasoning we agreed that we ready for something else and we walked by the water-slide. After trying the water-slide we noticed the pool just at the bottom of the slide. My girlfriend was already in it before I could even ask.
While playing in the pool, much to our dismay, she sliced her foot on something on the bottom filter cover. After getting out and inspecting her foot the cut turning out to be quite sizable and was bleeding. We went back to the stateroom and proceeded to use the small travel sized first aid kit she had packed for just such an occasion. The rudimentary kit was not enough. We informed medical and proceeded down to deck 0 to have her seen.
Our visits to the other islands were fun. We discovered that if we arranged for our own transportation and fun we could get more done and find more to special places on the islands as we went out and explored on our own.
On St Thomas was our first venture on our own to Blackbeard's Castle, shopping in the the downtown area, and then snorkeling on the beach. We got a lot done in a very short period of time. Then, in Puerto Rico while in San Juan we boarded the busses for the Fortresses tour. The Fortresses were beautiful and the tour guide was very knowledgeable, funny, and personable. We did enjoy that tour; however, afterwards we had some time to ourselves and found a magnificent barista on the corner of Calle O'Donnell and Calle San Fransisco called Caficultra. Great atmosphere and great cuban coffee. After getting some shopping in we headed out of the heat and back into the ship for some more cruising.
We were hoping to catch some more shows and life on the ship but most were done by the time we got back aboard. We readied for dinner and caught some comedy shows before the ship closed down for the night (with the exception of the casino.) It seemed as though the casino was the only thing going 24/7. While sleeping though we would be woken occasionally by the children running up and down the halls in an attempt to find something to do because of the lack of entertainment after hours.
Our last stop was Grande Turk. A beautiful stretch of sand surrounded by reef and ocean. I was hoping to rent a jet ski and explore the ocean a bit and then maybe have a spot of fun with my girlfriends arms wrapped tightly around me, but, to my dismay, the previous spring break all of the jet skis had been broken by some rambunctious 21 year olds having a bit to much fun. We end up basking in the sun, we snorkeled in the ocean, did some shopping, and then enjoyed a meal and drinks at Jimmy Buffets Margaritaville. Afterwards, boarding the just in time to steam off for another day at sea.
Our day at sea mirrored the previous with the two exceptions of staying away from the pools and Summer joining me in the gym for a workout. We also changed things up with getting brunch in the main dinning hall. This was different and welcomed detour from our usual routine of getting breakfast in bed.
We disembarked from the ship once back in Miami and bid the crew and sea good bye. The cruise was a fun and enlightening adventure; one that we will hopefully repeat soon. We will probably be going on another cruise, however, we will probably be doing some more research and finding a cruise ship with more after hours activities, food, and where we might be able to enjoy a some swimming privileges under the stars.